Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 9.47.19 PM


 your feeble teacher’s Hopi family taught feeble ilg a special word fr(om) their language;
in English, the word makes for a paltry translation at best…think; “Engaged Inner Strength.”
  feeble ilg managed to grab the above pic while racing alongside Dewachen (10) at Saturday’s Hopi Footrace at Oraivi.
This race, put on by famed Hopi Runner/Coach and ilg’s Brother-Fr(om)-Another-Mother, Juwan Nuvayokva
(the Hopi’s have won 27 consecutive National XC Running Championships,
yeah, you read that right. and their budget going up against all the big $$$’d teams?
is;  zero.
want to learn more?  Google® Sports Illustrated Interview: Juwan Nuvayokva)
The Race, another one of ilg’s famed Wholistic Fitness® Sacred Sweat Pilgrimages,  is a 100% trail run on dirt road and trails used for centuries by the Hopi at 6,500 feet in the Hopi Village of Oraivi. The race is located in Northeast Arizona on the Hopi Indian Reservation. Oraivi is believed to be the Oldest, Continuous, Inhabited Settlement in the United States of America, dating back to 1150 A.D.

shout the native villagers as 73 of us take off through the renown Hopi soft sand which monuments itself as a svelte, serpentine line among the eon-molded sandstone cliffs…

on the quasi-long (if you grew up in the Four Corners like ilg?  ‘long car drives’ are relative.  on the Navajo Rez?  it can often be 45-minutes driving at 65mph between villages/towns)  4-hour drive fr(om) Durango to Tuba City, AZ where Dewa and i would spend the night before the final hour drive onto and within the Hopi Reservation, we spoke at length about our tactics.   ilg has raced this raced probably 10x.  this race holds a special place in Dewa’s spiritual heart.  this race was her first 5K three years ago.   we tent camped at “runners camp” a dusty, dirty  ‘campground’ located 30-minutes away fr(om) the Start Line more populated by Rez dogs than Two-Legged’s and has produced a record number of memories throughout Dewa’s young life.

this year though?  we saved (y)our pennies and stayed at the luxuriously new Legacy Inn at Tuba City.  it’s like Vegas without the slots or attitude.  the entire hotel is devoted to imparting the Hopi Culture and is a museum in  and upon itself.   Stay There.   Support Hopi!    ilg is speaking with Juwan about doing a Hopi Runner’s Weekend at his race next year!  watch my personal FB and IG pages for a vid!

Race Morning:
4:30a –  “Deh?”   i shout out into the blackness toward the huddled mass of Dewachen noodled, entwined within my own limbs, “It’s Race Day!  We Gotta Get Up!”

“Okay Daddy! I’ll be ready in 10!”  arose the cutest most sleepiest voice fr(om) the ethers of the 5-star bedroom…

Race Approach:
“OMG, Daddy!!!  you’re driving over a 100mph! Why?”
“Uhhhhh…” managing ilg’s next few Word Choices very carefully, “well, cuz? uh?  there’s nothing better to do?”

a little later;
glancing shoulder look; Grandfather Sun has just broken the horizon line.  this is when Hopi’s run; at Dawn, toward the East. Medicine Blessing.  All is sooooo beautiful fr(om) a top this most precious, ancient Mesa whereupon Lewis Tewanima (Google® it, if you sadly don’t know) often ran fr(om) his village to Winslow to watch the trains arrive and back again (about 75k w/o water).

Pre-Race at Oraivi:  
“Okay, Daddy,  we’re registered;  let’s begin our Warm Up!”
“Kinda thinkin’ Baby Girl?,”  ilg shirks, ” YOU should be Head Coach today!”
“Sorry, Dad,  just excited.”

we HAMMER the downhill start off the mesa.   reckon we are the only white peeps in the entire 73 racers in the 5k.  set a pace off the front male runners for the first minute, then back off the gas to wait for the first Female to pass us.  ilg hears Dewa’s breathing and adjusts the pace according as we continue to plunge off the ancient mesa top to the accord and applaud of the Hopi natives sitting, squatting on the cliffs next to the singletrack descent.

descent done.  Dewa is 7th girl overall.  now the long uphill grind through the notorious Hopi soft, energy-sapping sand begins.   there’s a cross wind.  ilg shields Dewa.   there is a headwind,  ilg shields Dewa.   “This ain’t no Kendall! c’mon, D!   GRIND!”   injecting ilg’s Coaching Voice as we begin the long uphill back toward our nation’s oldest, most continually inhabited village.   it ain’t easy.   yet, Dewa has Her grind on!   she finished in 37 minutes last year which got Her 3rd Overall in her 18-and-under cat (i KNOW, right!??!) and got ilg onto 3rd step of ilg’s AG Podium.  we’re looking to break that time and see where it gets us.

the grind goes deeper.

at times, D and ilg hold hands through the steep, uphill grind.  we train at the National Sand Dunes Monument and at Kendall Mountain Race for times like these…ilg re-Minds D of such trainings and races.  we are chronically encouraged by our other racers and natives lining the course…  we – in turn – encourage others we pass and those who pass us.

in Hopi Culture?  running is a Blessing.   “If you are lucky enough to be a Runner?”  ilg’s Hopi father taught ilg, ” Well then?  you are lucky enough!”

“We thank the Runners for they are a Clearing Way,” taught ilg’s Hopi mother.  “They provide a Pathway for the rest of us to follow.”

DISMANTLE:   3/4 mile fr(om) Finish

so,  both ilg and Dewa conveniently managed to TOTALLY FORGET about the… DAH, DAH, DAH, DOOOOOOM….

yeah, so, topping out after the seemingly endless uphill grind through the Hopi sand!?!?    both D and Coach ilg managed to forget about the Dogleg!


dat’s right, the DOGLEG!

a dastardly 1/4 mile stupid kick-around the ancient Mennonite “temple’ where certain White People attempted to rape the Hopi’s of their precious spiritual religion and convert them.  well, let ilg tell you; that Black Karma is still kicking ass cuz when D – who was on WAY RECORD PACE – suddenly realized and tragically remembered this dog-leg?  instead of just busting up the short hill into the village and the Finish?


TOTALLY demolished her.


and, living this race through ilg’s Precious Daughter?

got ilg off-center.


Dewa’s psychospiritual breakdown happened fast and furious.   Her breath went fr(om) Her precious belly upwards to suffocate Her by clavicular breathing.  She began grabbing at Her side…expressing how She had forgotten about this part…

“Daddy!  I have to walk!”

“Okay, Baby Girl…Daddy is right here with you,” i said reaching out and taking Her precious, sweating hand.

multitudes passed us, nearly within sight of the Finish Line.  deeper, ilg clenched Her treasured hand…

“I’m sorry I’m walking Daddy!   I really don’t want you to miss your Podium,” She said in true Amitabha Buddha lineage c(om)passion for others between tears as the pain of Her effort over the past 34 minutes accumulated toward an emotive climax…

“DeC(om)pression Breaths, right now;  do 3 of them,”  ilg coached, as ilg’s insides toward inside out.

a few more m(om)ents of walking hand in hand with Her… Grandfather Sun rising to the east suddenly seemed to amplify our effort… right at the edge of the village,  Dewa looked into ilg’s eyes:

“Daddy?  I’m good, let’s do THIS!”

“Right here, Baby Girl!”

And, so it was,  hand-in-hand,  Daddy-and-Daughter ran through Turtle Island’s oldest village to the native cheers…

Dewa opened up her renown finishing sprint with 50-meters to go…

ilg crossed the line 1-second after Her.

Dewa (10) finished 2nd in the 18-and-under Category, losing 1st Place by 48-seconds.

Dewa finished 23rd out of 72 racers.

Dewa was the 6th Female Overall to finish.

Dewa was the first White Girl to finish.

Dewa stayed at the Finish Line to shake the hand of every participant as She has been thus coached by Her feeble daddy.

Dewa then ate traditional Hopi Blue Corn Mush and Piki Bread with Her feeble father on Second Mesa overlooking the Outer World below…


“Yeah, Precious Daughter?”

“This is the best day EVER!  THANK YOU!”  She placed Her traditional Hopi foods aside to offer ilg a kiss.

“Yup, it is for your Daddy as well.  Hey, have you ever been to Canyon de Chelly?” ilg asked, knowing of course, She never has.

“No, I don’t think so,”

“Well, we are in the most spiritually vibrant vortex of Turtle Island and your Daddy reckons it’s time to take you to Canyon de Chelly.. you up?”

“Of course, Daddy!” She squealed, “I’m all-WAYS UP for you!”

“Yes, yes you are, Precious Daughter!”

as the long roads across the vast open spaces of the time-lost Rez unfurled beneath Chloe Snowflake’s (our Rav4) tires,  a tremendous dharma talk occurred with D and ilg without force, with love, with humor…

as in the Hopi Way…






Leave a Reply